Question:

I'm 19 years old and and my boyfriend is 20. Our situation is really complicated, so I'm going to tell you our past. Most of our relationship was before I gave my life to Christ. Let me start by saying he has tourettes and ADD.

When I first met him he was very lustful. I went along with it, but told him I don't want to have sex. Over time I discovered he had a porn addiction. He would lie to me and say that he has stopped watching it, but then he would admit it a few days later. So we ended up starting a cycle where I would question him, he would lie, I would find out and yell at him, then he would cry. This happened several times throughout our relationship. Then I decided to accept the fact that he was struggling with an addiction, but he would still hide it from me. He would also look at other girls including my best friend.

He went to visit his family, but they didn't want him to come back to where I live. So I got a place, sent him money to come back, and he stayed with me. Then we went as far as having sex. I know that was a big mistake. I tried to get him to focus on me and not on other girls. Then we went to a church we were invited to for the first time. I realized we were living completely wrong. But he would get upset when I told him not to touch me.

I started flipping out at him whenever I caught him looking at or thinking about girl's bodies. I would yell, he would cry. I got angry to the point of becoming physical. We got kicked out of the place. He told my father everything, and my father arranged for him to go back home. After he left I kept feeling like I was a horrible person and that it was all my fault.

He got himself in trouble and is now in Adult Protection Services. Now he has to prove that he can control himself because he self harms when he gets angry. Now he constantly tells me it's all his fault. He says, "I should have never left you," all the time. I tell him that it's my fault for becoming physical.

We continue to have a long-distance, over-the-phone relationship. I still go to church and I recently gave my life to Christ. I told him that I won't be part of any lust anymore. He really wants to break his habits. He's even trying to stop touching himself. He does that all the time. I was starting to wonder if I should even be with him anymore. But we really miss each other because we had lots of good times too.

Since he said he really wants to change I've been trying to lead him to Christ. But we have a problem. He has a short attention span and doesn't listen very well because of his ADD. I get frustrated when he stops paying attention, or cuts me off and I have to repeat myself. But I want to overcome this so I can be the one to show him love. His family doesn't even show him much love. By the way, we both grew up in group homes. We are committed to improving our relationship. But how can I help him, and how can we work on these things over the phone?


Answer:

It appears to me that you will be better able to work on these things over the phone than in person. He has little or no self-control, so being together would be a constant temptation for both of you, but for him especially.

It also appears to me that one of the reasons you are particularly attracted to this man is because he is so needy. I believe it is appealing to your motherly instincts. However, you seem to think that you can make him change and this causes all sorts of anger issues because you are trying to force him into what you think he ought to be. He does need to change, but people change because they decide to change, not because someone yells at them. People can be encouraged to do the right thing, but they cannot be forced. "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:24-26).

Right now, he is not a man I would recommend that you date or marry because of his self-control issues. Be his friend. Encourage him to improve. But don't tie your life to him unless he can over come his problems and you overcome your own. The odds are that he'll progress, but he won't gain all the self-control that is needed in a husband.

I suspect that he needs an adult male in his life to teach him self-control. You are providing some motivation because he wants to win your affection; yet, you also distract him because he still is primarily focused on sensuality. I don't think you can accomplish helping on your own.